Liverpool are yet to confirm their capture of Loic Remy this summer from QPR, but Arsenal’s discontinued interest in the striker spells positive signs for Lukas Podolski for the season ahead.
Podolski’s future during the second half of last season was uncertain. The German forward was out of the side after returning from injury, with Arsene Wenger regularly overlooking the 29-year-old, even as an option from the bench. A move back to Germany was mooted, with Schalke said to be interested.
But off the back of a World Cup win, where, admittedly, Podolski was again a peripheral figure, and now a sharp upturn in positive feeling around Arsenal, Wenger may just be preparing to hang on to the forward, who has developed a notable cult following among supporters.
Podolski is good for the dressing room too, where his mood never seems to waver, even amid struggles for regular football. And make no mistake, the Polish-born German international isn’t just a lovable mascot, he’s the most clinical finisher at the club, even after the signing of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona. He may not tick the boxes Wenger deems necessary to play as a lone striker at the Emirates, but Podolski nevertheless holds plenty of qualities worth hanging on to.
And had the club opted to move ahead with Remy’s signing, with the Frenchman heavily linked with a move to north London, it would surely have spelt the end of Podolski’s time with the club. Wenger is known for his preference of a streamlined squad, and both forwards would, more than likely, fill the same role in the squad.
Arsenal’s halted interest in Remy also leaves an opening for Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell to stick around for the upcoming season. Podolski and Remy could have been switched, but the depth issue would have remained the same. Instead, Campbell is available to add further quality to a side in need of strengthening, not just in bodies but in quick, capable and versatile forwards.
Campbell’s exploits with his national side at the World Cup may have played an important part in Wenger’s rethinking and ultimate reluctance to move on Remy’s reported wage demands. Campbell is evidently good enough to stand up to high quality opposition and can be of great use over the next 12 months.
But snubbing a move for Remy also makes financial sense, regardless of the club’s healthy financial state at this time. He wouldn’t have offered anything greater than what Arsenal currently have on the books. His pace and finishing ability is on hand in either Campbell or Podolski, while funds can be focused on rebuilding in other areas of the team, namely the centre of midfield and defence.
It would be ambitious to say Arsenal don’t need another striker. The addition of Alexis and the returning Theo Walcott will do much for what was an uninspiring and oft-misfiring forward line last season, but another major star wouldn’t go amiss, something Remy evidently isn’t.
With Wenger being far from the type to spend heavily on two players who can occupy the same position, his faith looks to be placed in players who could have found themselves elsewhere this season. For Podolski at the very least, Remy’s move to Liverpool will be a welcome sign for those who still wish to see the German international play his football in north London.